Mar 30, 2017 Last Updated 9:01 AM, Mar 30, 2017

New eye drop could cure cataracts

ABN – A new drug administered as a simple eye drop could one day save more than 500,000 Africans from blindness every year.

Scientists have found that a naturally occurring molecule called lanosterol shrank cataracts when it was administered to dogs via eye drops.

It has yet to be tested on humans but there appears to be a good chance that this simple eye drop could replace the need for surgery, which is far more difficult to administer to all the cataracts sufferers that need it.

Cataracts form when the proteins making up the lens of the eye become opaque and are the leading form of blindness in African people, with 600,000 people becoming cataract-blind every year.

Surgery is currently the only remedy, and while it is not a particularly complicated procedure, it is too expensive for many Africans to afford – not to mention invasive, frightening and requiring of a hospital visit.


US commits further $226m to Ebola recovery

ABN – USAID has announced that the US government will provide an additional US$226 million to help West Africa recover from the recent Ebola outbreak.

The announcement was made at the International Ebola Recovery Conference at the UN Headquarters in New York.

Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea will all receive funds to address critical gaps in their systems left by the Ebola outbreaks.

The US has also been aiding each country with its recovery efforts, which include improving food security, health systems, non-Ebola health services and communication technology.

USAID Administrator Alfonso Lenhardt acknowledged the progress that has been made in the fight of and recovery from Ebola so far.

He said: "As we continue on the road to zero cases, we are here to support the people of West Africa as they begin the long process of rebuilding and restoring their livelihoods."


Tekmira Pharmaceuticals halts Ebola drug trials

ABN – Tekmira Pharamceuticals has halted its clinical drug trials for its experimental treatment for Ebola after discovering the drug was ineffective.

Patients taking part in the clinical trials for the TKM-Ebola-Guinea drug will not be enrolled onto Phase II.

The future of the drug will be dependent on the results of the company’s data analysis of the trial, which will be released as soon as possible.

Trials started in Sierra Leone in March where the disease affected more than 12,000 people.

Study chief investigator Dr Peter Horby said: “It is a great tribute to the team in Sierra Leone that the trial has been run so efficiently and that we now have substantial experience on the use of TKM-Ebola-Guinea in patients with Ebola.

“While the trial has reached a statistical endpoint, final conclusions on the efficacy and tolerability of the drug must await full analysis of the data.”


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